A new partnership aiming to boost the Lichfield economy by £46million has been launched.
The Lichfield City Centre Development Strategy will see key organisations such as Lichfield District Council, Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire County Council, the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Lichfield City Council working together to boost visitor numbers.
David Gage MBE, chairman of the partnership, said the new strategy would pay dividends.
“I am looking forward to playing an active role in shaping the future of Lichfield city, a place which I think has huge untapped potential and many hidden gems,” he said.
“The strategy aims to elevate Lichfield city and its role in the wider district by enhancing existing attractions, delivering better and more targeted promotions, providing improved visitor facilities and ensuring visitors want to stay longer and spend more.
“Above all, the strategy aims to increase visitor spending in the city by 5% per annum over the next five years, leading to an additional annual contribution of £46m to the local economy and supporting 850 additional jobs – something we can all support.”
Cllr Helen Fisher, Cabinet member for tourism at Lichfield District Council, added that there was real value in ensuring all groups were thinking of the bigger picture.
“We have developed an action plan as part of the strategy,” she said. “It sets out the initiatives city partners will work to deliver, whether individually or jointly, over the coming years.
“Not only does it make clear what we are all trying to achieve, it will make joined up working possible, and make attracting funding easier organisations – from the Heritage Lottery Fund through to the Arts Council – will be able to see we have a cohesive vision for Lichfield.”
Issues around much-needed improvements to Lichfield’s railway stations have already been highlighted as barriers to boosting tourism.
But the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, said all partners had a role to play in improving how attractive the area is to visitors
He added: “A shared vision for the city is vital if we are serious about it reaching its full potential as a visitor destination that draws people in from across the region, nationally and internationally, supporting hundreds of businesses and jobs.
“We are home to one of the most awe-inspiring cathedrals in the land, have amazing history and heritage that weaves together stories of Anglo-Saxon warriors, Samuel Johnson, Erasmus Darwin and more.
“It is only by pulling together through a strong partnership that we can make the most of these assets, whether that’s improving visitor facilities, marketing ourselves better, or joining up to attract funding.”
The strategy can be downloaded here.